Band: Dark Forest
Album: The Awakening
England is a land rich in history, especially musical history. Dark Forest is band from the "Black Country" of England with a sound that could very well add onto the country's lengthy musical history. This talented group of up and coming musicians are in tune with their historical roots on a very spiritual level. For their third full-length album, “The Awakening,” the band delivers an epic tale of passionate Heavy Metal music and strong thought provoking lyrical themes. Dark Forest mixes the New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound with some Folk and Power Metal elements to build these uplifting and extremely powerful musical landscapes.
The production on this is album is very impressive. The guitar tone has just the right amount of distortion to compliment the relentless pounding drum rhythms. On the vocal front, the lead singer’s strong melodic voice fits perfectly with fast paced musical compositions. He does not try to push his vocal range to ridiculous heights, but instead maintains a great vocal delivery that allows for the lyrics to clearly stand out. The musicianship all around is flawless and everyone offers an equal amount of talent. I find that Dark Forest focuses on songwriting first and this group does not seem to care about showing off how technical they can be as musicians. The way each verse sets up each triumphant chorus is simple and emotionally moving at times.
The opening track, “The Awakening”, begins with lines from Percy Shelley’s poem, “The Mask of Anarchy.” This short piece of poetry sets up the fast paced epic driving guitar riff and thunderous drum attack. The Folk Metal elements make the song sound very empowering and the lyrics carry a tremendous amount of substance. Each verse is clearly expressed by Dark Forest’s lead singer while the guitar harmonies help reinforce the music’s call for attention. Right away the following track, “Sacred Signs”, continues the quick rhythmic style that was established on the opening track. Dark Forest tends to not stray far away from the intense Folk/ Power Metal style which I think helps give this album a distinct musical identity. Now, the track “Turning the Tides” begins with a bit of a deviation from the usual style because the opening double bass drum part is really aggressive. With his double bass abilities the drummer could easily play in a Death Metal band! Again, the guitar leads sharply emphasize certain parts to give the music a high pitched emotional boost. “Immortal Remains” is probably my favorite song on this album and simply a great triumphant piece of music. The climatic main chorus and guitar riff sent shivers down my spine when I first listened to the song.
The album ends with the final track “Sons of England” which offers a final epic call to unite. This track is one of those fist raising anthem like metal songs that gets everyone in the crowd pumped. The songs fades out with an acoustic guitar piece and church bells ring off in the distant while birds are softly chirping. After the noises disappear I feel like I have just experienced a spiritual awakening.
With this album Dark Forest creatively combined Folk, classic NWOBHM and Power Metal, to present strong uplifting music with an inner spiritual quality. The lyrics are written to evoke deep meaningful thoughts about society and one’s inner self. Trust me, you will definitely not find this type of deep meaningful music on any techno pop album. From the first uplifting track to the last you will walk away after listening to this album with a more positive attitude than you had before. If you like continuous triumphant Heavy Metal music, you will really enjoy Dark Forest’s “The Awakening”. All Metal fans unite and listen to this album! Let the spirit of Metal live on forever!